COP 26: Civil disobedience action of Extinction Rebellion in Dijon
A young activist from Extinction Rebellion declined in downtown Dijon this Saturday, October 30, an international campaign to “protest against climate inaction” as the COP 26 begins in Scotland this Sunday. The move took place to a few motorists and the police had to intervene.
The kick-off of an international action was given this Saturday, October 30, 2021 in the morning in Rome (Italy). Activists of environmental movements are installed on the asphalt of Via Cristoforo Colombo to block traffic in the city where the G20 is taking place and denounce a rally unsuited to the fight against climate change.
The action was modestly relayed this Saturday afternoon in Dijon, also on the eve of COP 26, the conference on climate change that the United Nations is organizing in Glasgow (Scotland) from November 1 to 12.
A young Extinction Rebellion activist set up for a few minutes on two different streets in the city center to “stir up the debate”, which mainly caused the discontent of motorists before the arrival of the police who interrupted the action.
An individual who meets “in a position of vulnerability”
The international movement Extinction Rebellion (XR) or “rebellion against extinction” was born in the United Kingdom in 2018 and advocates the use of nonviolent civil disobedience to pressure governments and conscious citizens at the risk of collapse social and ecological.
In Dijon, the last large-scale operation dates back to February 28, when Extinction Rebellion activists organized a plantation of 200 trees in the North Cape area.
This Saturday’s action is based on the launch of COP 26 to be part of the “Rebellion Of One” campaign launched in various countries in 2021 including France last June.
According to Extinction Rebellion, it is about “individuals disrupting the proper functioning of society and putting themselves in a position of vulnerability to protest against climate inaction. They do it in their own name, without claiming to belong to a particular group, and from their own experience ”.
“Terrified of no longer having food and water because of the climate crisis”
At around 3 p.m., a 23-year-old woman calling herself Alexia moved to Boulevard de Brosses with a sign saying: “I am terrified of governments’ inaction in the face of the climate crisis” and “I am terrified. to no longer have food and water because of the climate crisis ”without any other mention or logo.
Alas, quickly, the cars steer towards the lane reserved for trams and bypass the activist who then chooses to change site.
A few meters away, Alexia settles in the middle of rue Jean-Renaud where this time, if the bypass is possible by passing on the sidewalks, the maneuver is less obvious. A traffic jam of a few cars is created. Very quickly the horns sound and motorists get out of their cars to call out the activist while activists observe and film the scene on their smartphones.
Strong reactions from the outset
The initial idea was to “create a crowd” and “to start a debate”. While the rue de la Liberté is filled with consumers, tourists and, quite simply, onlookers. Passers-by are rare on rue Jean-Renaud. So no curious as hoped.
The debate quickly ends due to the vehemence of the first reactions including that of a man who grabs Alexia’s clothes and slides her to the sidewalk before other people present and the XR activists get busy. lower the tension. The young woman’s “vulnerability” has therefore been effectively described.
While Alexia gets back into place in the middle of the street, the first blocked motorists call the police and, although passage is possible, awaits the arrival of the police: “we have the same freedoms as her. ; the debate, on will lead it! ”
In relative calm, the people gathered forward emit the inconvenience caused: “we totally agree but this stops the cars, which pollute” [NDLR : du fait de l’embouteillage].
Only a man will have made a detour to come and talk to the activist: “I find that what you are doing is great, you are the only ones doing something, those of the older generation do nothing, do not give up!”
At 3:30 p.m., six police officers called – including a woman to conduct the pat-downs – and drag the activist to the sidewalk. After an identity check, Alexia is left free, warned that the resumption of the action could lead to police custody.
“Join environmental associations”
“I’m terrified of the future,” Alexia explains to the media, “I’m tired of living with this ball at home and seeing that nothing is moving. Tomorrow is COP 26 and, for now, nothing has been done ”.
“You can always be in associations, precisely so as not to feel alone and be able to act too, it’s very important. If there is one piece of advice I can give, it is to join environmental associations, ”says the environmental activist.
“People have seen the sign, they know and yet they are hijacking. If people hijack, I’ll put myself in a way that really blocks them, so that they will have no choice but to read the message I want to convey and maybe announce questions and act in the common sense, ”she adds.
And to conclude on his feelings: “I did not expect that there would be so many angry people, there is a man more than me who dragged me in the street. (…) I know that the disturbances, I put myself in front of them, they cannot pass. I expected that there would be more debate between people, that there would be more people who attracted me ”.